Tonari Gumi Board of Directors 2018-2019

Returning Directors and Nominations for 2018

Tonari Gumi’s Board of Directors consists of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds. The Board’s role is to oversee and manage the organization within the guidelines set out in its Constitution and By-laws on issues such as organization policies, human resources and authorities given to staff to carry out day-to-day operations.

Directors are recruited on any combination of:  professional skills, connections to the community, knowledge of Tonari Gumi and community-mindedness. They serve 2 year terms and can serve 3 consecutive terms for a maximum of 6 years total. In 2017-2018, eleven Directors served on the Board.  For 2018-2019, it is proposed that twelve Directors will serve on the Board.

For the upcoming year, there are 2 returning Directors, 4 seeking reelection and 3 seeking nomination.
Other members are welcome to stand for election at the meeting.


New Nominations for a Two Year Term

Martin Kobayakawa (2018- )
A Sansei, born and raised in Toronto, Martin has a professional background in transportation and urban planning and has participated in the Japanese-Canadian community for many years. Martin is a graduate of the University of Toronto, and studied in Japan on a Mombusho scholarship. He worked as a transportation planner at trans Link and BC Transit. Martin has been an active volunteer at Tonari Gumi, most recently in the Outreach and Lighthouse programs. In the community, he was involved in the Sansei identity movement in the 1970’s and the Japanese-Canadian redress campaign in the 1980’s. Now retired, Martin is an avid musician, photographer, gardener and traveler.

Copithorne Tamako (2018- )

Born in Matsue in the last century and grew up in Tokyo. Entered Keio University in 1954. While a student at Keio I went to UBC in 1955-6 as the first Japanese exchange student on the World University Service of Canada scholarship and spent an extra year at University of Toronto. Returned to Keio in 1957 and graduated in 1959 (Psychology with interest in socio- linguistics). Graduate studies at Yale University and received M.A. in Anthropology and Southeast Asian Studies in 1962. Married to Maurice Copithorne (international law and foreign affairs) of Vancouver and spent 23 years in Ottawa and various foreign capitals including, Beijing, Vienna, etc. representing Canada. Upon husband’s retirement, returned to Vancouver in 1986. In 1989 – 2000 worked (teaching public events) until retirement, as Director of Japanese Culture and Communication at David Lam Centre for International Communication, Simon Fraser University at Harbour Centre. Past and present committee work includes as a board member, at International Social Service (Geneva), Canada Japan Forum, Vancouver Chamber Choir (chair), Pacific Canada Heritage Centre, Museum of Migration Society (as Hon. Advisor), etc. Hobby: Sports, art and music, Family: Two sons and four grandchildren in Toronto and Montreal.

Kanako Motohashi (2018- )

A 2nd generation Japanese Canadian born in Ottawa and raised in Victoria, BC.  After attending the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor in Political Science, she lived in Kobe, Japan for 4 years working and traveling the country.  Currently Kanako is a Human Resource Manager in Vancouver and resides in Burnaby with her husband and two young sons.


Completed Two Year Term and Seeking Re-election

David B. Iwaasa (2016-17, 2018-)
Third generation Japanese-Canadian, born in Raymond Alberta. Grandfather emigrated to Canada from Hiroshima-ken in 1898. Ancestors from his mother’s side come from Fukui-ken. Studied international economics at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Kyoto University in Japan and the University of British Columbia. Joined the Canadian federal government in 1975 and has worked in Ottawa; Washington, D.C.; Paris, France; and Tokyo, Japan. Has served as a volunteer for the Boy Scouts, various community associations and for his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He and his wife served as volunteer missionaries for three years in Fukuoka, Japan. After returning to Canada in 2009, he worked as the Executive Director of Tonari Gumi from March 2010 to October 2014. Married to Jane (nee) Kadonaga with four children and ten grandchildren.

Michael Beaty (2016-17, 2018-)
Born and raised in Vancouver, I grew up on Bowen Island. I am a UBC graduated, having majored in Japanese language and culture. During my studies I spent two years on exchange in Japan in Nagoya, and Tokyo, studying at Waseda University in my 4th year. I have worked in the non-profit technology sector for the past 5 years, with a focus on payment processing, CRM, marketing and automation.


Karen Nishi (2016-17, 2018-)
Karen is a Sansei with family roots from Mio or “America-Mura” in Wakayama-ken. With a Marketing and Strategic Planning career spanning 30 years, Karen is a Vice President at Wasserman + Partners Advertising where she helps clients seek the focus and clarity required to transform their brand and business. After graduating from UBC Sauder School of Business, Karen began her Marketing career at Campbell Soup Company in Toronto. Homesick for Vancouver, she moved back home with Molson Canada before making her way into the advertising world. Karen lives in Vancouver with her husband and teenage son who just can’t get enough of his Obachan’s cooking.

Sanae Moteki (2014-15, 2016-17, 2018-)

Born in Japan and came to Canada after having worked in Japan for over 20 years. Studied accounting in London, Ontario and Victoria, B. C. moved to Vancouver due to work. Currently on the staff of a local charitable music organization. Having been the beneficiary of the actions of many individuals some of whom whose names I do not know or whom I will never meet, I decided that I needed to give something back to the community. It was when I was thinking in this way that a friend referred me to Tonari Gumi and I agreed to stand as a director.


Second Year of  Two Year Term

Patrick Li (2017-18 )
Born in Hong Kong but lived in Japan from the age of 9 since his father owned a trading company in Kobe. In 1981, emigrated to Vancouver and joined Mitsui Canada as a steel trader in their Vancouver Steel Department. Patrick’s wife, Tomoko, became involved with Tonari Gumi in 1982 and Patrick would assist whenever he could. Upon retiring from Mitsui in 2010, he agreed to join the TG Board. His Hobbies include playing squash, swimming, roller blading, skiing, listening to music, photography, and traveling.


Mamiko Van Horn (2017-18 ) 
I was born in Yokohama, Japan to a Japanese Canadian Nisei , who was born in Mission , BC. At the age of 8, my family immigrated to Toronto, Canada, where all my father’s family relocated to after the war. In l970, I worked as a Librarian Assistant in York University. Then I managed the first Kite Store in Canada and finally owned and operated a flower shop in Toronto. My volunteer experiences includes, – teaching E.S.L. to the Mexican immigrants when I lived in San Diego – kitchen assisting at the Salvation Army Mission Soup Kitchen in Montreal -assisting with various events at my daughter’s schools in San Diego, Montreal and Vancouver -and recently volunteering with Academy of Life Long Learning (ALL) in Bellingham, Washington – doing various volunteer jobs with the West End Vancouver Food Network Through the inspiration and admiration of Ms. Kikko Tasaka, I became a member of Tonari Gumi and became part of what I fondly call, the “Wonderful Wednesday Lunch Making Ladies !’ I have also offered to be an assistant photographer with the Tonari Gumi Garden Project. I look forward to being able to contribute and working with you all!


One Year Remaining of Two Year Term

 Derek Imai (2013-14, 2015-16, 2017-18)
Raised in Greenwood, BC, Derek grew up in a bi-cultural home with Steveston-born Nisei parents (dad was interned in Greenwood and mom stranded in Japan after Pearl Harbour). Derek was always interested in his Japanese heritage. His first encounter with Japan was at 19 when he spent 18 days at a danjiki dohjoh in the mountains of Nara. After graduating from UBC with a teaching degree he went to Gunma Prefecture to teach English. Enjoy Japanese culture and life he moved to Tokyo to study Japanese and work. After 3years living in the dynamic & energetic city he returned to Canada. Now teaching ESL and students with learning disabilities in Surrey, Derek has become a volunteer with Tonari Gumi to connect with the local Nikkei community.


Chuichi Chris Nakahori (2013-14, 2015-16, 2017-18)
Born and raised in Japan. I moved to Canada in 1968 as a student. Received Immigrant status in 1970 and partnered in many businesses. Since 1999 I have been actively involved in Seaborn Enterprises. One of the hobbies I have been enjoying since 1973 is being part of the chorus group, “Sakura Singers” I was elected as one of their Directors last year.


 Michael Sakamoto (2013-14, 2015-16, 2017-18)
Montreal born and raised Sansei. Upon graduation from McGill University, spent 5 wonderful years working in Africa. This was followed by a 32 year career with the federal government which included self-government and treaty negotiations. Now retired and enjoying lots of walking, golf and skiing.



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